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10 Apr 2009

Anti-gay Christian fundamentalists hijack Singapore women's group

Singapore newspaper reveals anti-gay agenda of a group of new members that won majority seats in AWARE, a women's advocacy group, at its annual general meeting last month.

In what has been described as "nothing short of a leadership grab," a group of new members challenged and eventually won nine out of 12 executive committee spots at the recent annual general meeting of Singapore's main women's advocacy group, Association of Women for Action and Research (AWARE).

According to a report by the (Singapore) Straits Times on Friday, more than 100 people - the majority of whom had joined only in recent months - turned up at the meeting on Mar 28. Ordinarily, the meeting would be attended by no more than 30 or 40 members. Nearly every position was challenged by new faces who won by wide majorities.

It was reported that barely a week into her new term and making her first statement as the new president, Claire Nazar - an older member nominated by outgoing Aware chief Constance Singam - quit suddenly this week.

Longtime members were quoted as saying that they were shocked by the turn of events when veterans were challenged and defeated by wide margins. Former president Tan Joo Hymn told the paper that 80 of the 102 who turned up were new members who joined between January and March this year.

Attempts to have the new members state their position on several issues during the meeting were unsuccessful.

The paper further highlighted that some members of the new committee and outspoken members from the floor during the meeting have written to The Straits Times Forum Page to oppose the repeal of Section 377A of the Penal Code which criminalises sexual relations between men.

One member who identified herself as Angela Thiang said questions about the new office bearers' religion and their stand on homosexuality were not relevant.

AWARE was one of a number of non-governmental groups in Singapore alongside Action for AIDS, Free Community Church and People Like Us which have called for both Sections 377 and 377A of the Penal Code to be repealed completely in 2007. Former president Tan was also one of the three main signatories of the parliamentary petition along with human rights laywer George Hwang and Fridae CEO Dr Stuart Koe.

Thiang and another member Dr Alan Chin who was present at the AGM both wrote to the same newspaper between August and October 2007 cautioning against the risks of promoting the homosexual lifestyle. Blogger Alex Au wrote on Yawningbread last year that Thiang is a lawyer working in TSMC Law Corporation which is headed by Nominated Member of Parliament Thio Li-Ann's mother, Thio Su-mien.

The report also identified New honorary secretary Jenica Chua Chor Ping who had written to the paper on Oct 17, 2007 saying that NMP Siew Kum Hong had overstepped his non-partisan role and advanced the homosexual cause by tabling a petition in Parliament to repeal Section 377A.

A week later, she wrote a second letter taking issue with a Straits Times report which said NMP Thio Li-Ann had been 'visibly distraught' when she opposed Siew's petition vigorously. Instead, Chua said that Thio had dealt with several points succinctly, with humour and passion.

Forum letter excerpts:

"I feel that not enough has been done to warn our youth that leading a 'gay lifestyle' is not cool. On the contrary, it is very unhealthy. There is a very high risk of contracting not only HIV but also a slew of other sexually transmitted diseases." - Beware the high-risk 'gay lifestyle', Dr Alan Chin Yew Liang

"Attempts had been made to extend such special rights, to the point of banning religious texts like the Quran and Bible as 'hate literature' for 'incit(ing) hatred against sexual minorities' because these texts categorically reject homosexual behaviour While a group of people may be a numerical minority as a social fact, that cannot be the sole or conclusive criterion for conferring legal recognition as a minority at law, so as to merit the enjoyment of additional protection or privileges." - Beware loose use of term 'sexual minorities', Angela Thiang Pei Yun (Ms)

"While he is free to present his personal views on any issue, Mr Siew has overstepped the boundary as an NMP when he chose to represent the homosexual interest group He should not adulterate the NMP role further by becoming the proxy representative of the homosexual interest group." - NMP overstepped role in championing gay cause, Jenica Chua Chor Ping


Reader's Comments

1. 2009-04-10 15:36  
wow, sounds like a really good cat fight . . .but looks like the group was outsmarted by a better organized opposition . .. hmm time to regroup and form your own splinter-- like Martina Luther leading the Reformation!

on another note, did any of you girls see this week's South Park? fricking hilarious-- this week's episode is titled EAT, PRAY, QUEEF!

so funny, maybe they can show it at the next Women's Advocacy Meeting and it will bring the Christian Women and Lesbians a bit closer and some chuckles for everyone just to lighten up and all get a long:)

let the cultural Olympic wars begin and hope everything can be sorted out with a fierce bake off or sweater making competition
2. 2009-04-10 15:49  
~and they were sayin gay guy's best friends are girls, looks to me like its not in the real world :3
3. 2009-04-10 16:42  
I am just so confused here !!! I quote from a paragraph taken from the above article and I quote

" Thiang and another member Dr Alan Chin who was present at the AGM both wrote to the same newspaper between August and October 2007 cautioning against the risks of promoting the homosexual lifestyle. "

You mean you can promote a straight life style ? Please share with me how ? Can Thiang and Dr Chin , please change my sexual orientation and make me straight. Come on , it's in me and in born. You think I want to be gay ? Come on get real. I knew I was different when I was in Primary school. Don't tell me about the company and the way I was brought up. I am surrounded by triads and gangsters and have brothers that are as straight as an arrow. So how did I turn gay ? Did I choose to be one ? If I can , I would love to go straight and go around and hump a girl and make them pregnant. Get real. Talk to my hands !!!!

Like the hokkien saying - Keh KOng !!!
4. 2009-04-10 19:33  
If anyone was in doubt about the political nature of some of these so-called religious groups, these fascist-like tactics are a clear eye-opener.

Maybe next they will make a grab for a political party, if they haven't already.

5. 2009-04-10 19:35  
Looks like this Christian organisation is using tactics from the American fundamentalist christian/right. Quite scary once they organise and infiltrate. Hope the saner members of AWARE will regroup and fight back, throwing out these false christians who will try and keep women in their traditional roles, as the Germans put it.. kinder, kurcher, keuken if I got it right i.e. children, church and kitchen
Joe (ex-catholic and proud of it)
6. 2009-04-10 19:53  

And steveuk, u r right on the money except on grabbing for a political party? Dun you see, in a place like Singapore, they must already have connections and blessings from way up before they can pull off a stunt like that.

The level of hidden evil in their politics makes the public display of Thai politics look like peanuts.
7. 2009-04-10 19:53  
No surprises as usual in this small city state where the one party ruling system crushes anything that threatens its survival. The whole social-political system there forces and moulds its citizens into either, suck up compliant cowards or rebels waiting to leave the country for freer human rights, or risk clash-in with the law sooner or later.

Here is clearly an example of how wolves no longer disguises as sheep to gain access into the flock, but slaughter the farmer to run the farm. There is absolutely nothing christian about these so called self professed X'tians. It's just a label they use to commit crimes against others in the name of their god and an alibi that the devil made them sin just in case they get exposed. Same ole same ole.

8. 2009-04-10 20:24  
Post #6 jammyboi says (Posted : 10 April 2009 19:53) :
"And steveuk, u r right on the money except on grabbing for a political party? Dun you see, in a place like Singapore, they must already have connections and blessings from way up before they can pull off a stunt like that."

Well, it looks like they were exposed in the state-controlled press, so they clearly don't have it all their own way yet. Maybe their next move will be to take control of the press, which seems to be catching on to what they're up to?

They already seem to have a big influence on TV codes and education, as we've seen from previous articles.
Comment #9 was deleted by its author
Comment #10 was deleted by its author
11. 2009-04-10 22:37  
It shows how AWARE can be caught unAWARE by intruders who have infiltrated into the organization for an ulterior motive of straightening everyone.

This is a wake-up call for any outnumbered organization to plan wisely about new membership.
12. 2009-04-10 22:56  
Gee did we hear 'Christian' again? I just hope people get more spiritual instead of getting more religious and open themselves up to brainwashing done by these so call religious leader ... may peace be with you (as long as you are straight)
13. 2009-04-10 23:42  
Shame, shame , shame on them
Comment #14 was deleted by its author
15. 2009-04-11 00:54  
To steveuk:

"Well, it looks like they were exposed in the state-controlled press, so they clearly don't have it all their own way yet. Maybe their next move will be to take control of the press, which seems to be catching on to what they're up to?"

I would beg to differ, steveuk. The Straits Times - some call them the Straight Times and even the Straightjacket Times - exists solely to advance the PAP's agenda, which as I have said is a Christian fundamentalist one.

Take a look at how the paper reported the same story - they completely omitted any reference to religious affiliation, while trying to maintaining a false image of objective reporting.

Title: Unknowns beat veterans
Caught off-guard by big turnout, longtime members lose to fresh faces
By Wong Kim Hoh

Barely a week into her new term, and before making her first statement as president, Mrs Nazar quit suddenly this week. She confirmed that she had resigned, but declined to say any more when reached by The Straits Times. -- ST FILE PHOTO
SINGAPORE'S best-known women's group, the Association of Women for Action and Research (Aware), has seen a dramatic changing of the guard - which some members are describing as nothing short of a leadership grab.

When Aware held its annual general meeting on March 28, everyone expected the usual: No more than 30 or 40 members would turn up at its Dover Crescent centre, and a prepared slate of candidates would be voted into office easily.


'It was alarming. How could a new member who had just joined for a couple of months, and whom we knew nothing about, be picked over someone who has been with Aware for more than 15 years?'
... more
The New Team
THE Straits Times understands that the following were elected to Aware's new committee on March 28, 2009.

# President: Claire Nazar
... more
Instead, more than 100 people came, the majority of whom had joined Aware only in recent months.

And when the election of office bearers began, almost every position was challenged by new faces, who won by wide majorities.

In the end, nine out of 12 executive committee spots went to the newcomers.

One older member who won without a contest was Mrs Claire Nazar, a former corporate counsel nominated to be president by outgoing Aware chief Constance Singam.

But barely a week into her new term, and before making her first statement as president, Mrs Nazar quit suddenly this week.

She confirmed that she had resigned, but declined to say any more when reached by The Straits Times.

It is not known who will now become president.

Longtime members took two other positions: Chew I-Jin as assistant honorary treasurer and Caris Lim Chai Leng was elected a committee member.

Comment #16 was deleted by its author
17. 2009-04-11 03:53  
To steveuk:

"Maybe next they will make a grab for a political party, if they haven't already."

I'm afraid, steveuk, the Christian fundamentalists have already grabbed a political party, and that party is the fascist PAP; 50% of their backbenchers are Christians, most of whom are of the fundamentalist variety. (Christians are estimated to constitute only 15% or less of the general population.)

Their numbers are no exaggeration - it can be easily verified on the party website.

It was two fundamentalist members - Lui Tuck Yew and Amy Phua - who crafted the new Penal Code which now criminalizes oral and anal sex between men only. That piece of legislation used to apply equally to heterosexual oral and anal sex, but even then was mostly enforced on gay men.

However, it is not only on this issue but on others in which the fascist PAP advances causes that are in line with what the Christian fundamentalists believe.

It is why I have been advocating to gay Singaporeans here to swing their support solidly towards the SDP.
18. 2009-04-11 05:50  
Exactly the same tactics were used a few years back in the anti-racist organisation I still belong to. Here it was not Christian fundamentalists, but Muslim crypto-fundamentalists. We calll this "entrisme" in French, and I think it can be traced back to Marxist revolutionary movements in the 20th century.

The agenda was not anti-gay (homosexuality is a very low-level issue in our movement) but to orient the struggle against racism in general towards a struggle against "islamophobia".

They were fairly successful, but my movement being the mess that it is, it didn't make so much difference in the end - except to considerably damage our image.
19. 2009-04-11 08:43  
There is no point being a NATO like that tartjamboi here. It clearly shows that these anti gay christain fundamentalist had planned and had used a great strategy. They won.

Why till today, we are still at war amongst ourselves ???

We do not have anyone brainy enough to lead us ??
20. 2009-04-11 13:15  
I think The Straits Times reported this to alert us to do something about it.

Does anyone know if there is any legal recourse to it?

I believe AWARE is trying to recruit more female members now to assist them.

AWARE does have certain influence in the media as a brand. The new committee do not seem as yet to gain respect from the media.

I think everyone will be watching their next move. Ground resistance needs to come from within AWARE itself or from an external group, either a present group or a newly established group.
21. 2009-04-11 13:17  
So, what's the BIG deal?
100 people show up to a meeting of normally 30 or 40 and elect their friends to 9 out of 12 leadership posts? Out of the total population of Singapore?
THREE people write letters to the editor? Again very small potatoes, blown way out of proportion by the media with a not-so-hidden agenda.
That would be like the SCMP here in Hong Kong reporting that -as usual- Shinen Wong articles draw a mixed reaction from fridae readership...YAWN.
Sounds like a very SLOW news day for the Strait-Times.
22. 2009-04-11 13:25  
Singapore's total population (July, 2009 estimate)


100 people at a meeting: VERY SLOW news day for the local press.

Don't EMPOWER the anti-GLBT media or the newly elected slate of AWARE officers by giving them any more FREE publicity here in Fridae. Make them PAY THEIR OWN MONEY to place their homophobic views in the public eye.
23. 2009-04-11 13:53  
it is alarming, considering that the brave siew kum hoong may not reappointed as NMP after his term expires and has signaled his intent not to be involved in politics. singapore, as you know, does not allow interest groups to be formed - they rejected the PLU years back - groups like AWARE are the exceptions to the norm. if we lose support from NGOs, it will be very for us to mount another challenge in the future to change the laws, which would be a pity, considering the growing momentum in america for same-sex marriage-potentially valuable in speeding up change in singapore.
in theory, you could try to vote for the opposition, but only a third of us would have the opportunity because of the lack of political contestation. GRCs and gerrymandering makes it impossible to form voting blocs. in short, theres a clear limit as to how far your vote would go, that is if you get to vote at all.
oh and i disagree with how 'christian' is used interexchangebly with morality- no group should have such a monopoly. it makes as much sense as saying 'how muslim/hindu/pastafaranian/norse you are' when words already exist to express the same things with less bias.
24. 2009-04-11 14:01  
In this case then, we really need to work within AWARE.

It's interesting how there's this 'gay tide' sweeping through the world with gay marriages becoming legal.

I wonder what's the impact it has on Singapore.
25. 2009-04-11 17:44  
I see from their website that Aware runs sexuality workshops, and also well respected classes in schools. Could it be that the coup has been staged by Focus on the Family?
26. 2009-04-11 18:35  
Now that even "mainstream" NGOs are vulnerable to getting hijacked by the religious Right, one wonders how long the rest of secular (or even non-Christian) Singapore will remain apathetic to their insidious agenda to control every facet of public life in our country.

Wake up and smell the coffee. It's not just about taking aim at the gays - anti-gay diatribe and rhetoric is just the means to an end to manipulate the wheels of power. Unless Singaporeans don't mind becoming a de-facto Christian country, they need to sit up and do something about this.
27. 2009-04-11 18:52  
just a thought, from observing past social revolutions like the rights won for slaves and women, there seem to be two neccessary but insufficient factors for any hope for change.

first of all we need the support of moderates, for that we cannot be seen as anti-religion. unfortunately the ones i talk to don't think its their quarrel even though they don't personally discriminate against homosexuals. perhaps they may change their minds if they see how their religion has been hijacked by fundamentalists on the PR front or has been used to oppress the lives of their gay friends and relatives.

secondly, we need a ready flow of information. media and a positive exposure to homosexuals is an important mindset-changer in the west. unfortunately we don't have that here, so word-of-mouth and the internet is our refuge.

there are no easy solutions.
28. 2009-04-11 20:10  
Post #22 S2, I share your sentiments fully and I'm sure many many do too, but what Post #13 percole, reminded us is very real and true. When the entire one party political juugenaut, PAP, is predominantly fundamental religious X'tians and muslim extremists, you need an Armageddon to remove the problem.

Look at their elected oppositions, reduced to barking puppets. If the government loses percentage votes in their fielded constituencies, they just expand & increase voting boundaries under the guise of GRCs, to swallow up neighbouring opposing factors. Dun be surprised one day to have Woodlands fall under Changi GRC.
The people there needs to start nibbling with swing votes to register discontent but from what I hear, with so many new PRs granted new citizens so fast, do you think these new "babies" will dare vote against Mama Bear?
29. 2009-04-11 20:16  
laoshshiyan: it also might have been a slow news day back when a relatively unknown man named Adolph Hitler, decided start a club in Germany..or the day a young guy named Saddam Hussein decided to get into politics. Several adjectives and phrases have been correctly used in the posts below to describe the Christian Fundamentalist World Domination and anti-Sexual Crusade: insidious, fasciist, oppressive, discriminatory, morality monopoly, false, insane, scary. What's the big deal you ask? Do you really want to simply sit on your arse and find out?
Comment #30 was deleted by its author
31. 2009-04-11 22:17  
Someone has suggested their next target may be Singapore Law Society, who also supported repeal of 377A in their report (but there was a vocal anti-gay minority who insisted on being heard).

Post #25 caesar2003 says "Do you really want to simply sit on your arse and find out?" .

I think in Singapore some of them do expect someone to do it all for them, waiting for some imaginary leader of some imaginary organisation to turn up, instead of actually defending themselves. But the truth is they are more than capable of getting their act together - look at what was achieved in one weekend on the petition against 377A, including a film on the net.

32. 2009-04-12 01:44  
Lesbians should turn up in force for AWARE's next annual general meeting and vote more of their kind into executive positions.
Our lesbian community is too politically apathetic.
I hope this serves as a wake-up call to them.
Lesbian representation in AWARE is minimal. Even Constance Singham is not fully conversant with lesbian issues, nor is she making a concerted effort to really understand and empathise with her lesbian sisters.
Lesbian organisations like Sayoni are more interested in social interaction than in political change. It is high time that Sayoni refocusses its priorities and becomes more politically vocal. If it doesn't, it may only be a matter of time before the anti-gay faction of AWARE lobbies to make even social organisations like Sayoni illegal.
33. 2009-04-12 04:23  
Great to see the discussion turn to "what can be done about this", not that I have an answer to this in politically muzzled Singapore.

I wonder if finding out which Ministry funds AWARE and petitioning them to intervene would be a feasible option.

Calling AWARE a women's organization is somewhat of a misnomer; it is and has always been a feminist organization and its approach to service provision is based on feminist therapy.

Gay men need to remember that worldwide, feminists have always been our staunchest allies, which probably explains the coup. (A rabidly homophobic Christian fundamentalist I once knew referred to feminism as the 'mother ideology' of gay activism.)

The Christian fundamentalist coup consists of people who don't have a modicum of feminism in them, and are likely to be clueless about feminist therapy models either.

Providing services to women without a focus on her experience as a woman is akin to reparative 'therapy' for gays.

AWARE's funding Ministry needs to be held accountable for this - the funds after all do come from the taxes we pay.

34. 2009-04-12 04:31  
And another thing we can do is to punish the party that facilitated this coup in the first place, and so here I go again plugging for my election strategy for gay Singaporeans - the Spoil Your Vote strategy.

1. If your constituency/GRC is a contest between the PAP and a non-SDP party, do not reward either by giving them your vote because only the SDP supports gay rights; spoil your vote instead.

2. In a PAP-SDP contest, vote SDP. However if you fear that your vote may not be a secret and you vote PAP out of that fear, then spoil your vote. This would have the effect of drawing votes away from the PAP and still give the SDP a fighting chance.

Spread the word to your gay/lesbian friends, family (to those who are out to their families), and our straight allies.
35. 2009-04-12 04:36  
To poliinc:

Yes, I have mulled over the political apathy among lesbians in Singapore, and wonder if it is because the focus thus far has been heaviliy skewed towards decriminalization, which they are not affected by.

Maybe when the focus shifts later to marriage, say.
Comment #36 was deleted by its author
37. 2009-04-12 09:21  
There is a very simple way to stop the Christian fundamentalist effectively......
38. 2009-04-12 09:43  
wow, where are all the classy cow girls? where have they gone? in the USA nice lesbians and Christians can sit down and get things done and work on the real issues facing women, like equal pay for equal work, health care, child advocacy and education, poverty elimination . . .

in Singapore there should be some real issues that unite people...but where is the classy leadership in the lesbian community? where are the Ellens, the Suzie Ormans, the Portas, the Condelezza Rice smart and articulate. . . lesbians seem to just want to launch cultural wars against Christians and they are losing the battle there cause tactics so tacky and no class!
39. 2009-04-12 12:21  
Why do Christians spend so much time trying to oppress other people down? They have such an appalling history, complete with pogroms, 'witch' hunts, book burnings, star chambers, inquisitions, torture, colonisation, religious wars, sectarian violence, bigotry and endemic child molestation. Over the last couple of hundred years Christians have supported whatever corrupt regime would help them grow (they loved Franco, Pinochet, Batista, Peron & co ) and way more Christians have been on the wrong side of human rights campaigns than on the right. To give just three examples: Christian churches (both catholic & protestant) supported slavery for hundreds of years in the Americas, most churches opposed women's suffrage at the turn of the century, and a few decades later the Vatican proudly signed a co-existence treaty with the Nazis, while 95% of protestant ministers joined the official Nazi organisation for clerics. The only good news from modern history is that as education and science grow stronger, this nasty death cult seems to be fading away as church attendance diminishes. Good riddance! The world will be a much better place without its superstitions and lies.
40. 2009-04-12 16:40  
About the points made by Dr Alan Chin, what's the definition of "gay lifestyle"? Promiscuous sex or heading down to gay saunas? These just a lifestyle not limited to the gay counterparts, but also heterosexuals... with a bit of variations. If this is what he meant, then perhaps this is unhealthy. But know that while the heterosexuals are encouraged to settle down and be responsible to their spouses, the sexual minorities never had this opportunity in SG. Anyway scientifically, there's no evidence to suggest that STDs spread more easily through gay sex than heterosexual ones.

On Ms Angela Thiang's opinions, banning of religious texts are only extreme measures of protecting the sexual minorities. It is therefore the government's responsibilities to exercise more neutral policies that help to promote social tolerance and acceptance, rather than outright depriving the rights of other groups. And on the view of social facts, sexual deviations is not just a localised social phenomenon, but a global one at it. So, it's a rather sizable "minority" after all, protected by International Human Right laws. And when Ministry of Home Affairs banned the forum on international laws on sexual orientation last year, it's clear what's the stance of the government is...

Finally on Ms Jenica Chua's opinion on NMP Mr Siew, Mr Siew is just voicing out for the sexual minorities, who ARE citizens of Singapore. Is it so adulterating to voice out opinions of the people as an NMP, or Singapore citizens who are sexual minorities do not deserve their citizenship rights? When Mr Siew's view has coincide with the people's view, albeit being only the minorities', it is no longer just a personal opinion.
41. 2009-04-12 17:54  
It costs $40 to join AWARE. It can be done online, with no vetting.

Maybe everyone here - male and female - should think about joining to try to make sure the organisation retains its committment to equality, regardless of sexuality.

Moaning here achieves nothing. Becoming a member allows you to influence events.
42. 2009-04-13 00:52  
souklan, I second your suggestion.

To all others, read this excellent article by Alex Au:

43. 2009-04-13 01:52  

Many people have been voicing their concern about the impact of the new exco on AWARE's existing programmes, especially where things like Sexuality are concerned.

For those of you who have been following my blog, you will have noticed I'm very active in this programme, and so is Caris Lim, one of the old-timers who was re-elected.

I will assure everyone, that as long as I am involved, I will always make sure that only secular, responsible and non-discriminatory messages are being put across.

I sincerely hope that supporters of secular, responsible and non-discriminatory education of any subject, will continue to support AWARE, and to let others know that we are still committed to this vision. There are many people who might not be in the exco, but we are the ones making sure this programme works and that it is being carried out. We do face prejudice from the conservative factions of society, and we hope that the enlightened people will continue to support us, instead of simply writing us off, because they have been scared off by an ST report about an unusal AGM outcome.

If we lose your support, then perhaps, what the ST report would have achieved, is the damaging of the credibility and effectiveness of AWARE, more than anything itself. In Singapore, platforms for non-governmental alternative voices are few and far between, and we need united support from all who share the same philosophy, in order to speak with a louder voice.

- mathialee.wordpress.com
44. 2009-04-13 10:18  
omg, it sounds like a Nazi coup...eek!!!!
expect them to issue a dictat soon...
45. 2009-04-13 11:08  
To mathialee:

"I will assure everyone, that as long as I am involved, I will always make sure that only secular, responsible and non-discriminatory messages are being put across."

What mechanisms exist within AWARE that guarantee that you will be able to do what you say?

Will the exco be able to veto your actions?
46. 2009-04-13 16:22  
And when the barbarians were charging through the gate, what were the Gatekeepers doing? When it suddenly became clear to the majority that there was an unwelcome element with intolerant views attempting to hijack the group and wrest control away - which they did - what were the ordinary members doing, and thinking?

"Oh my... someone should really stop them, and do something... Someone..."

It only takes One person to stand up in a meeting, put their foot down, and start loudly asking - no, demanding - answers on a number of issues. Just One single person is enough to start a Greek Chorus behind them, agreeing with them, until you suddenly don't have One group defender/Gatekeeper, you have 20.

And even if a group has been hijacked, then what? Give up? Quit? Leave them to it? If an anti-gay group orchestrated a hostile takeover like this... well, what Other policies do they have? In what other way are they going to target other groups? Who ARE these people, exactly?

You get the society and leaders that you Allow, not that you Deserve. Sometimes, as with China's internationally famous 'Mr Nails', you have to stand up to whoever's in charge, and refuse to be beaten down.

Those women have a Duty to mount a counter attack against the insidious new members - not just because promoting anti-gay policies is shamefully intolerant, but because it's the right thing to do, the moral thing to do, and it'd just common sense to prevent further damage in some other as yet unknown social areas that This new element may also attack...
47. 2009-04-13 17:28  
I remind myself of an event at Imperial College where the rugby club joined the gay society at their AGM and voted to disband the whole association. Wake up! things are not getting better for gays in Singapore and will not be getting any better until we get properly organised. What happened at AWARE is symptomatic of our laziness to get involved and ensure that our voices are heard at all levels. THEY have an agenda; do we?
48. 2009-04-13 17:43  
Post #40 vercoda says (Posted : 13 April 2009 16:22) :

And when the barbarians were charging through the gate, what were the Gatekeepers doing?

I would like to know too...whatever happened to former Aware members, like Dr Kanwaljit Soin & NMP Claire Chiang??? The wolves barged in so easily because of their absence. Before anything, we MUST get the original guard back otherwise we risk fighting a losing battle.
Comment #49 was deleted by its author
50. 2009-04-13 18:55  
Read this in the papers last week & it's left me feeling very disturbed....some posters below commented why PLUS in Singapore don't stand up & fight for themselves. It's not as simple as it appears.. unlike Europe Singapore is NOT a democracy. Anyone who's lived here for a period of time will know the stranglehold organized religion plays, from education to politics- & the Singapore govt is far from neutral in such affairs.

It's very sad & sorry state of affairs for AWARE...now I've also noticed a not-minor problem right here on fridae: any Tom, Dick, Harry, etc can just set up a profile here & claim they are gay whilest spewing all kinds of homophobic shtick in forums...did anyone realize how easy it is to sign up for an account?
Maybe some are just insecure gays, but that's also how psychos, crazies & religious fundies get in & spy on our community before planning their next move. In fact some have already been very active in trying to sabotage our confidence with unabashedly homophobic insults.
What do we do? GET ORGANIZED!!!!
So I hope fridae editors & owners can seriously consider QC- or quality control.
VET every member's forum comments; repeat offenders who post degoratory posts that sap the morale of the community will have their accounts suspended. To quote from Aragorn in LOTR:

51. 2009-04-13 19:00  
i wonder if the new committee will also use AWARE's funds to spread their propaganda.

if we can get 200 gays to register as members of AWARE, will they turn us away or bash us with their bibles?
52. 2009-04-13 20:36  
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55. 2009-04-13 21:15  
Post #43 Bains says "any Tom, Dick, Harry, etc can just set up a profile here"

It's interesting that percole and mathialee have different points of view, but exactly the same (female) profile pic, though I think percole previously had a male pic.

It's fairly easy to spot the fakes, apart from anything else they are often zero inches tall and joined 5 minutes ago, but we can still deal with the points they make by way of debate (if they are abusive they should be deleted by fridae). That way we can sidestep suspicion of eachother by keeping to issues and away from personalities.

56. 2009-04-13 21:20  
46 posts here but, after a few frustrating attempts to navigate the setup, can't find any in the straits times forums... it's all well and good to rant and rave on fridae but u gotta challenge the religious nutsos wherever and however you can... there is also, i see, a rather lively discussion in the straights times about how much these evangelical preachers are earning... the focus is on some dude called pastor prince (not one of the gay-bashing preachers, it seems) but i'm sure the accusations could just as easily be applied to other rabidly homophoblic preachers, churches and, yuck, traditional values organizations... greed is the christian fundies' soft underbelly... expose it... challenge it... and maybe the challenge should not even be directly tied to gay rights... achieving equality is, after all, only possible after the homophobes have been discredited... considering singapore's racial and religious mix, you can also argue that evangelical christianity, imported from the usa, is somehow unpatriotic and is just another and very insidious form of cultural imperialism that is undermining national identity and cultural heritage.... you gotta use public forums like the straits times, newsworthy political events, petitions, infiltration of christian groups, demonstrations (ok, ok... fat chance of that in sg), etc etc.... and whatever you do it has to be organized, consistent, persistent, clever, and focused.... and above all, you singapore folks have gotta learn how to shrug off your urge to fit it and to not rock the boat... you gotta learn how to fight... and to fight dirty (which doesn't mean screaming and name calling.... hear that, gymhotbod and jammyboi?)
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58. 2009-04-13 21:26  
Post #47 pheramones says "the focus is on some dude called pastor prince (not one of the gay-bashing preachers, it seems"

Actually he has been said to be homophobic by other posters here but he apparently toned it down after they complained, just like any good businessman would.
59. 2009-04-14 00:07  
F***ING jeasus freaks!!

S'pore boys..wake up and smell the roses. Only way to get rights is to come out of the closet, kiss and hold hand in public, protest and be so loud and proud that straights get tired of fight every little turn, and become "used" to see gays together. At very least you can have right to not have to hide all the time and be able to be yourself in public! Look at the young lesbians there, they hold hands and dont care, you going to let them be braver then you?? Join them and together you can make S'pore stop their anti gay jeasus freak rants.
60. 2009-04-14 01:24  
steveuk, I never registered a profile and that is probably why you saw the discrepancies when you clicked on mine.

You can alays test this for yourself by registering a new nick but leaving out the all details of your profle.

Then check in from time to time to see how your profile changes.

And btw, I am a man.
61. 2009-04-14 01:31  
The Christian right is an enemy of a democratic and culturally, ethnically, racially, religiously diverse country like Singapore. It is fuelled by a litany of hate and alienation. It is the result of twisted souls that are horribly repressed and tormented by suspicion and viciousness (how can they be Christian and lie so terribly? Aren't they as hypocritical as fundamental terrorists?). It is a bully of the oppressed (if they have so much moral energy, why aren't they cleaning up the prostitution in Geylang and Batam?). And they are a dangerous and totally foreign mutation to the Singapore that we know and love. Get them out of the lifeblood of our good country. They have no place in a country that enshrines peace, harmony and tolerance. We cannot tolerate Christians on a witch hunt (of any sort). We are also made up of people with other religions who are much more tolerant that this wretched bunch. We should let them know that they are a stupid minority whose voice has gotten too loud for their own good. More of us should tell them to just shut the bloody HELL up! Get out of our country. They are a social cancer in our system - deadly and pernicious to a vibrant, diverse Singapore.
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63. 2009-04-14 06:47  
Hmm. It looks like spoiling your vote as a strategy has been thwarted.


I kinda expected this from the PAP actually; they follow a four-step procedure to criminalize all political expression that is not perfectly in line with theirs, or that threatens their ability to stay on in power.

1. Identify the person (or group or entity) that presents a threat to their stranglehole on power.

(Me in this case, I suppose; however, Spoil Your Vote was already talked about in 2007)

2. Identify the acts that the person (or group or entity) engages in.

(Spoiling votes.)

3. Devise ways and means to contain or criminalize the activity in #2.

(Usually they tighten up already strangulating laws; here it is the introduction of electronic voting.)

4. Fabricate a most inconcrete justification for #3, and never based on any prevailing socio-political conditions in Singapore.

Very sound governance, wouldn't you say? (In the case of law, very sound legal principles guiding law formulation, no?)

Well, I was prepared for this. Although this backup strategy is a hardsell, it is probably the next best thing.

This is only in the instances where you may fear that your may not be a secret and you vote PAP out of that fear: don't go to the polls because you would still draw votes away from the PAP.

Pay the small fine at the next elections - it's a small investment to make to safeguard your future.

Note to non-Singaporeans: Voting is mandatory in Singapore.
64. 2009-04-14 07:53  
I believe God LOVES ALL of us and that includes homosexuals.

It is all very sad that until today we still have people who uses God's name for their own self interest and to demean others. Christians have made grave mistakes in the past, so please do not repeat these mistakes of imposing values and laws on others without first examining thoroughly the truth of the matter.

To these "Christians" holy man and woman, let me remind them that Jesus was also persecuted by the "holy" and "highly respected" teachers of the law the Pharisees.

Let ye who is blameless cast the first stone!

I am 100% sure that Jesus is for ALL MANKIND, be they straights, gays, man or woman, of any race, ethnic, colour or creed.
65. 2009-04-14 14:46  
Was just wondering how many of us let the people we love (friends and family) know that we are gay. If we reach out to the people we love and whom we think love us in return, then maybe we should not have so much homophobia. I am sure most of the Christians has someone in their family or friends, whom they give a hoot about, who is gay, whether they know it or not. I think people fear what they do not understand. We all have the responsibility to educate our family and friends. We do not have to scream at their faces though, just let it in gently over time and not be homophobic ourselves. :)
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69. 2009-04-14 18:13  
Istar73, the poster below me, made a very good point. We should be upfront & honest to those closest & dearest to us...though I understand it's easier said than done, esp. if youre're unlucky enough to be 'blessed' with parents who seek more value in some vague mystic being than they do their very own child.
Also many Asian parents are very,very fearful of 'losing face'. Gays= Freaks, :. yr son/daughter is gay= oh no! he or she's an effing freak!!!
They are also like "I'm ok with gays...as long as they are nt my own children". Got it?
That's their mentality; very stubborn & resistant to change too (which old person wasn't lol)
So I hope we don't try provoking them further or snap back with smart-arse words (though admittedly it's very tempting sometimes) but show through our ACTIONS which speak louder that we are humans & not circus freakshows.
In fact I think half the battle is already won....has anyone noticed the religious fundies have already irritated MANY, MANY people besides gays ;-))
From their very charmless existence to their intrusive conduct to the way they are so insidious like the incident above highlights LOL....even
non-gays are having fun b1tching & tearing their behavior apart. Stay tuned; it's going to get better ;)) Maybe they will attempt to be more 'charming' in future...bt we who are more worldly can easily see through the facade. *wink*
70. 2009-04-14 19:10  
It may be these self professed X'tians this time but never ever forget that it applies to the other 2 gay persecuting faiths of the book as well. Abrahamic religions such as Judaism, Christianity and Islam, traditionally forbid sodomy and teach that such behaviour is sinful. And trust the fundamentalists to always remind us that the fight never ends.

1st BASIC step-Eliminate self hating cowards, spies and traitors that bite our own kind and pretend to preach "proper" lifestyles and leech off victories of gay movements. These are our most vicious and insidious of enemies. No need to look far, examples a plenty in these forums who these losers are.
71. 2009-04-14 21:38  
Dear Dr Alan Chin Yew Liang, if you ever read this, your comments made me very concerned and led me to wonder where you got your medical degree?

"I feel that not enough has been done to warn our youth that leading a 'gay lifestyle' is not cool."

I do not know any stright boy or girl who has ever 'chosen' to be a gay boy or girl and take on a lifestyle because it is cool.

What planet do you live on Doctor? Sexual orientation is more complex than being a simple lifestyle choice. Did you miss out on a few classes? Too busy reading your 2,000 year old Bible perhaps. Get real and help don't hinder.
72. 2009-04-14 23:39  
About time you guys took time to draft some thoughtful letters to the forum pages in the Straits Times. Have something sincere to say that make sense to the rational mind. You know now, who are misusing religious powers to bully the others, simply because they can.. and because we let them..
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74. 2009-04-15 01:57  
- SOMEDAY by The Celtic Women -
Someday, when we are wiser
When the world's older
When we have learned
I pray someday we may yet
Live to live and let live

Live and let live... easier said than done isnt it? http://sexytenga.wordpress.com/
75. 2009-04-15 09:14  
What has this particular issue got to do with religion in this case?

Is the author of this article trying to promote social unrest by digging up past comments made by various individuals and linking it to this particular takeover issue?

Gays have rights to voice out, but so do the other citizens.

In my personal opinion, it is the majority of the public (regardless of religion), who influences the decisions of the Parliament, not any particular religious body.

Are we accusing the Parliament of not being secular?
76. 2009-04-15 12:23  
Still NOTHING in the editorial/op ed pages of the STRAITS TIMES on this topic. If you S'pores can't even pick up a pen, how will you ever take it to the streets?
77. 2009-04-15 17:02  
Re to Post #61 laoshiyan- There are in fact replies from 2 readers in Strait's Times Forum Page ystr (Tue 15 Mar 09) the paper itself, not its online interactive- unless you consider this rather patronizing piece by one Dudley Au:


Now I am showing you the 2 letters; they both have rather interesting differences in viewpoints:

I refer to last Fri's report 'Unknowns knock out
veterans at AWARE polls. The affairs of AWARE
zre an interesting study in leadership & change
mgt. In the report, the old guard lamented the
fact that the newcomers went into the electon
to 'grab' the leadership, adding that the power
grab was not done in a progressive &
evolutionary way. The old guard members spoke
passionately of the institution & value system,
yet they seem to have failed to protect what they
had built from an 'invasion'. The newcomers do
not appear to be like ephermal opposition
candidates who pop uip only during the general
election. The report stated that the new leaders
comprise of women from the corporate sector
who are well-educated & hold high & responsible
positions in their companies. What is unclear is
what these new leaders stand for & what values
they represent & will being to AWARE. Let us
give them a chance to show results. As in any
process of change, evolutionary change may not
be better than revolutionary ones. Let the
outcome of the change speak for itself.


(Continue 2nd letter on nxt post)

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79. 2009-04-15 17:27  
I write with reference to last Friday's report
"'Unknowns knock out veterans at AWARE polls"
The AWARE is respected for its significent
contributions to women's issues as well as its
broader commitment to social equality for all
Singaporeans. However, given the takeover
Of the new committee, I argue that these ideals
Are now seriously brought into question.
One wonders what the new committee's news
on social equality for women are. It is not
enough to argue for more opprtunities & or
simply support for women.If AWARE is truly
commited to women's equality, then it requires
a complete rethinking of gender as a
fundemantal organising principle of social
relations. While the committee was voted
in through legitimate means, questions remain.
Namely,the sudden appearance of a majority
whoh voted so similarly. I therefore urge the
new committee to make its stance clear,&
also bring its more experienced long-time
members back into the centre of AWARE's
decision-making process.

80. 2009-04-15 17:36  
Firstly, Christians (I mean all those around us) does not equate Anti-Gay. Fundamentalist Christians might not have the anti-gay agenda at the top of their heads. Christians does not equate Non "Feminists" (or whatever AWARE is standing up for). Feminists do not equate Pro-Gay (in fact, the minority agenda can be contending with the Feminist agenda for political/public attention). We should stop interchanging these terms and interpreting them loosely so we sound more rational in times of war.

Secondly, the issue raised by this article should be the concern of every Singaporean. It concerns the integrity of our NGOs. Have some patience and follow me through the following questions.
Do our NGOs have a directive to begin with when they were given the right to "practice"?
If they do, does it include entry standards that prove their commitment to the cause in case?
If they don't, does it mean Christians and Buddhists can perform an upstage in a Muslim NGOs?
What tangible factor constitutes the eligibility of the members in terms of their commitment to the cause in case?
I think whichever Ministry (I think MCYS) is answerable to us all.

Lastly, what does this mean to all of us? Are we demanding fair play or are we just spiteful because we didn't think of this strategy first (or we simply lack the numbers or time)? Whatever it is, we have got to agree on something fast! But whatever our stand is, we've got to bring it to the masses. This is the perfect opportunity to light the powder keg against "Them" since whoever is behind this hijack has probably pissed more than just a few fags. If we make it all about us, it'll once again give the masses another excuse to sit out and watch the "fags vs. ThioLiAnn" show.
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82. 2009-04-15 17:45  
Kumsia to Bains and keep us updated.
Just a followup:
I suggest Fridae adopt a new attitude towards the "News/Features" column. Its largely touch-and-go now. Capricious and trend-obsessed as the public might think us, some of us actually like to concentrate on a certain "outdated" article (e.g. this one) and unleash its potential to create a movement of sorts. It doesn't help that Fridae puts entertainment news, useless "anthropological" discoveries and "introspective" masturbation (like the prev article entitled "Bitch" alongside with major NEWS like this which threaten our very existence. Since most us members frequent Fridae more than ST, it'll be smart to rally the support right here than simply tell us a piece of "news" to stock up on our daily conversational topics.
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85. 2009-04-15 17:58  
WHY is it that there is ALWAYS an error whenever I link a news article from the Srraits Times Interactive? Screw it; I'm copying Dudley Au's
letter word-by-word:

Home > ST Forum > Online Story
Give new Aware leaders chance to prove themselves

I REFER to last Friday's report, "Unknowns knock out veterans at Aware polls".
There appears to be some complacency among the old guard of the Association of Women for Action and Research (Aware) in the way they were expecting only the usual 30 to 40 members to turn up to vote.

If the voting was viewed as a symbolic gesture for the usual people to retain their seats, then do not begrudge the new blood for taking over.

In the article, the newcomers said they were there to support women and to ensure they received all the opportunities given to them. I find no fault with this, and having a daughter who is a professional, I am in favour of the new breed of women who, according to the report, included women from the corporate sector, lawyers, company directors and academics.

If they mean what they say and have a deep motivation to further the cause of women, I see no reason for alarm.

If they are eager and motivated to take Aware to another level of competence, we should give them, in fairness, the chance to do so.

Former president Tan Joo Hymn said about 80 of the 102 who turned up were new members. This hints at an enthusiasm to make Aware better oriented to serve its fellow modern women.

Whether they will succeed remains to be seen.

I wish them the best.

Dudley Au
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87. 2009-04-15 19:49  
The membership are calling an EGM to quiz the new committee; see article on CNA website.
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89. 2009-04-16 05:10  
To top_guy_west:

"Are we accusing the Parliament of not being secular?"

In the first place, no one here has questioned the secularism of the government.

However, the government only uses the word "secular" when it wants to place curbs on Muslims.

But has it ever used the same word when Christians were at the forefront of the opposition to decriminalization?

With 50% of Parliament Christian, and seeing how the government bends over backwards to privilege Christians in the ordinary population, wouldn't you call their favoritism into question too?

And I can tell you why they are the government's favorites: they believe in the same blind obedience to authority that the PAP wants to extract from all Singaporeans.

While there is no evidence that the government is not secular, my opinion is that in the gay rights issue/s, parliamentary secularism is seriously compromised by the mere presence of the Christian fundamentalist MPs.

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92. 2009-04-16 05:58  
In trying to understand religious fundamentalism and it's agenda, I came across a very interesting article called "The Fundamentalist Agenda" by a liberal Christian, Rev. Dr. Davidson Loehr, about a wide ranging study that was done on the mentality involved. Here's a bit from the middle:

"From 1988 to 1993, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences sponsored an interdisciplinary study known as The Fundamentalism Project, the largest such study ever done. More than 100 scholars from all over the world took part, reporting on every imaginable kind of fundamentalism.

And what they discovered was that the agenda of all fundamentalist movements in the world is virtually identical, regardless of religion or culture.

They identified five characteristics shared by virtually all fundamentalisms. The fundamentalists' agenda starts with insistence that their rules must be made to apply to all people, and to all areas of life.

- There can be no separation of church and state, or of public and private areas of life....

- Men are on top...

- Since there is only one right picture of the world, one right set of beliefs, and one right set of roles for men, women, and children, it is imperative that this picture and these rules be communicated precisely to the next generation. Therefore, fundamentalists must control education by controlling textbooks and teaching styles, deciding what may and may not be taught...

- fundamentalists spurn the modern, and want to return to a nostalgic vision of a golden age that never really existed. Several of the scholars observed a strong and deep resemblance between fundamentalism and fascism. Both have almost identical agendas.

- Fundamentalists deny history in a radical and idiosyncratic way. Fundamentalists know as well or better than anybody that culture shapes everything it touches...What they don't want to see is the way culture colored the era when their scriptures were created..."

If interested you can read the whole thing at www.uuworld.org/2004/01/feature2.html

93. 2009-04-16 10:36  
On the topic of secularism,
I thought it'll be interesting to note that the religious demographic of Singapore according to Wiki as according to Population Census 2000 is 42.8% Buddhist and no more than 15% Christians. However it was impossible to find an up-to-date demographic statistic even on www.singstat.gov.sg. Its not on the monthly digests, 2008 publications, or latest statistics columns. I gave up. We seem to be a really Secular State. So much so that religion is not a noteworthy statistic.

percole : As to 50% of the Parliament being Christians or the presence of Fund. Christians doesn't really compromise the integrity of our secularity or does it? I think the point is that no religious perspective should partake in the rhetorics going on in there.But that being said, the MP might not use religion as a bargaining tool during debates but it still does fuel their fire. But that isn't wrong. We woud like to think it is, but it isn't.

What would be "really" secular? To have a number of representatives proportionate to our state demographic? (like housing policy) Or to simply not take into account the God an MP believes in and take them in based on merit. I think the latter makes more sense because as a demographic, religion unlike ethnicity is much more volatile. So the only reason left for why there are so many Christian MPs, is because these people are "good" if we're talking about climbing the meritocratic ladder.This is gonna trace back to early years where Christians were mostly English speaking, and how SG decided to forgo the East for the West. A very long and cumbersome history class.

During the next parliamentary debate, the wise thing to do (if we firstly DO petition) is to use secularity to our advantage. Ignore the Christian agenda. Ask them (whoever they are) what they want at the end of the day. To maintain the status quo (signified by 377A) or to ultimately witchhunt us and put us into an asylum. I would like to see how they reason whichever choice they make WITHOUT employing Christianity.

As to steveuk: Thanks for the info. But the results of the study don't sound very objective. I don't know but if some academic figure did show striking similarities between fundamentalism and fascism, I would think fundamentalism would be more than frowned upon now. But anyhow i think its especially true, at least fm mi perspective. Especially the one where they refuse to acknowledge the influence of culture on religion. But i thought that is basically what all religions believe themselves to be, Pre-culture, Pre-civilization and such independant of social forces.
94. 2009-04-16 12:31  
While this is a good piece of news, and there are red flags raised that perhaps the Christian fundamentalists who have taken over AWARE will no longer support the LGBT cause based on past doings of the members, via their letters attached to the article.

However, while warnings are raised, one should also allow them to take their roles as they were voted in by the members themselves.

Who knows, maybe they'll be supportive to the cause of LGBT rights through AWARE, as they have in the past.
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98. 2009-04-16 14:07  

DBS exec Josie Lau is AWARE''s new head.
Apparently she is vice-president of consumer banking group cards & unsecured loans for DBS Bank. But shortly after she announced that & posed for pictures for the press, her employer
is reportedly unhappy about the appointment.
DBS Bank said said it had told her just before last night's AWARE exco meeting that it did NOT support her running for president. The bank said it supported employees' participation in community work, but they needed approval before taking on appointments. Their spokesman commented:
"We believe that as a vice-president in DBS, she already has a challenging job with many responsibilities, & the role of president would demand too much of her time & energy".

Ms Josie Lau is the wife of Dr Alan Chin Yew Liang,
who owns several clinics under the Lifeline Medical Grooup.

Re to aput (Post 72), I understand yr position,
if given a choice, we couldn't care less.
But unfortunately ...the wolves just wouldn't leave us alone. We do not want to end up on their dinner table, like ignorant sheep.
99. 2009-04-16 14:12  
Does anyone get the feeling that these people are actually trying to 'punish' Aware for their support of the repeal of 377A last year?
100. 2009-04-16 14:20  
Fridae, please be very, very alert...we DON'T want to be hijacked like this. :((
101. 2009-04-16 14:21  
This is an unfortunately development and negatively impacts on the government's desire to make Singapore into a more gracious society and a more desirable place in which to live and work. Eventually however, the forces of light will win out over ignorance and bigotry -- in the meantime however, we'll just have to stay stuck in the Victorian era while the civilised world moves on.
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104. 2009-04-16 16:14  
Dear Percole,

i would like to clarify that i am not defending any particular faith nor government body in my view points.

Firstly in regards to the issue on why 50% of Parliament members are christians may not be an issue of favoritism. If they are elected on the basis of being a chrisitan, than i would have to agree that it is a show of favoritism. However in regards to the criteria to elect members, i do not think that being a chrisitan is one of the criteria.

Seccondly, are you assuming that even without the "fundamentalist MPs", all the other 50% of NON-Chrisitian members agree to decriminalization?

If that is not so, then are you saying that the NON-Christian members are also equally following in the same "blind obedience to authority".
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106. 2009-04-16 17:00  

I think the ball now will be in DBS ' court:
do they seriously want their good name dragged through all this political mud? I certainly hope not; they are just doing business as usual serving their customers. The public- and I - will, out of respect for Mr Richard Stanley, not drag DBS into this.

Re to pheramones (post77): Thank you; interesting info you have here. So the fundies have indeed moved en masse to Asia after Obama's election & Singapore is esp. attractive for them...for obvious reasons. If memory serves me well even HK wasn't spared??? The only surprise is that they've managed to penetrate society in such a short space of time. It really frightens me.
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110. 2009-04-16 19:31  
Sorry for my error in Post #66- I mentioned Mrs Claire Nazar, the legitimate candadate approved was approved by Constance Singam.
Turns out that she's no innocent;& most probably no different from Josie Lau.
Below was a piece she wrote during the heat of the 377A debate:

13 July 2007
Straits Times online forum

Stop bashing the majority for their views on homosexuality

I refer to the article, 'Can mum, mum and kids make a family?' by Janadas Devan (ST, July 7). Speaking as a mother of two and one who fully appreciates the father's role in the home, I am appalled at Mr Janadas' simplistic arguments for his case that homosexuals who are 'model citizens' are qualified to raise children as a 'family' of sorts.

He assumed that homosexuality was normal and/or desirable, that two same-sex persons could raise children as well or better than a man and wife. His article read as one which berates Christians and also insults the intelligence of most Singaporeans for not being 'clever' in failing to support the homosexual lifestyle.

To use the lone example of a lesbian friend cohabiting with her lesbian lover to raise two biological children of hers (artificially inseminated), and declare that her 'family' is 'stable' because they regularly attend church, hold many university degrees, et cetera, does not lend itself to the larger picture of whether such 'homosexual families' have any positive social consequences.

All children have a right to a mother and father. Medical evidence indicates that children from same-sex homes run a greater risk of suffering from Gender Identity Disorder, other psychological problems and tendencies to form adolescent same-sex attractions.

While Mr Janadas' lesbian friends may be happy to remain as homosexuals, to raise children who may grow up as homosexuals, it would be irresponsible to ignore the psychological risks these children are exposed to.

The October 1999 issue of the American Medical Association's 'Archives of General Psychiatry' confirmed a long link between homosexual sex and suicide as well as a relationship between homosexuality and emotional and mental problems. Youths engaging in homosexuality and/or bisexuality are more prone to suffer major depression (four times more likely), nicotine dependence (five times more), and to commit suicide (six times more).

I would counsel Mr Janadas to wait till his lesbian friend's children become adults before evaluating their emotional and social adjustment.

Mr Janadas failed to offer any evidence demonstrating the positive consequences of a homosexual family environment applied across the board. He offered no statistics in suggesting that prevalent divorce rates for heterosexual marriages would pale compared to the homosexual unions of 'model citizens'. What about the break-up rate of homosexual relationships? Even if his friend's case is exceptional and the children involved grow up totally normal, one swallow does not make a summer. What about the children of other 'not-so-stable' homosexual families?

Intelligence has nothing to do with morality. If it did, then Hitler's actions would have been right. Neither does social acceptance of a family with two lesbian 'parents' mean that lesbianism is right or healthy. Indeed, widespread mainstreaming of this aspect of the homosexual agenda will promote sexual permissiveness and unsound, harmful social morality.

As a Christian, Mr Janadas' misquote of the words of Jesus, 'Judge not and ye shall not be judged', applied across all major religions, is almost unforgivable. This saying does not apply to express inhibitions in the Bible on homosexuality. That being the case, the homosexual lifestyle ought to be examined from the premise of 'why did God say that?' and not taken out of context.

If Christians are condemned by Mr Janadas as holding 'deep-seated' prejudices against homosexuals (which they do not) simply because they agree with clear Biblical injunctions that homosexuality is an 'abomination' (and not just wrong), how tolerant then, is Mr Janadas of these religious views and their holders?

Even if a 'homosexual' gene was discovered, this does not change the Christian perspective on the issue. Christian theology considers death, sicknesses, cancers, genetic mutation and even an eventual finding of a 'homosexual' gene (or genetic defect) as the results of sin and flouting of God's moral order.

I understand from the 2003 Spitzer Report from the 'Archives of Sexual Behaviour' journal, that 64 per cent of men and 43 per cent of women considered themselves heterosexual after leaving the homosexual lifestyle for five years. The necessary implication is that people 'born' homosexual can change and stay changed. The existence of former homosexuals is a fact for 'clever' people to consider, too.

Ultimately, careful consideration should be given to show why homosexual marriages and homosexual parenthood, for example, requiring state-sponsored artificial insemination, should be allowed.

Let's hear the facts and figures on this issue and, indeed, the social and medical consequences of mainstreaming the homosexual lifestyle. Stop the bashing and cheap name-calling of the majority for their views.

Mr Janadas has failed to dissuade me of my 'homophobic' views but has only demonstrated his 'hetero-phobic' views and intolerance of those holding views contrary to his. Not very clever, I think.

Claire Nazar (Mrs)

Obviously she's never heard of Joseph Fritzl...wait, that was in 2008.
That piece was written in 2007. Little wonder. :p
And the "Hitler-morality-intelligence relativity" got me tickled up so bad, I'm going for a pee now :D
Doesn't she know Hitler persecutes homosexuals with the same level of fanaticism she does??

Anyway we have to face the fact that AWARE is now polluted. Even if we do protest, so what?
At best they will just tone it down for show,
& maybe even 'do good' 'to leave a good impression with the public.
We can only hope the masses by now have smartened up after TT Durai & 'Venerable' Ming Yi.
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113. 2009-04-16 22:58  
Hi top_guy_west:

"If that is not so, then are you saying that the NON-Christian members are also equally following in the same "blind obedience to authority"."

That's sort of what I'm saying.

What I was really trying to say is that the PAP demands blind obedience to authority from ALL Singaporeans. (Actually, it is just authority figures, not actual authority, that they really mean.)

Singaporeans from all backgrounds have developed at least an outward semblance of that quality.

Christian fundamentalists in particular are very adept at playing by those rules, hence the favoritism that the PAP rewards them with.

When that favoritism - a type of emboldenment, as distinct from empowerment - extends to legislative function, we are in deep shit as far at aleast as queer issues are concerned.
114. 2009-04-16 23:04  
To amoebavirgin:

I agree with all you wrote.

The problem we have on our hands is that Christian fundamentalists are aware that there is much public displeasure towards mixing religion with politics.

They however remain motivated by their religious beliefs, and have found a guise for those motivations; they are masters at counching that motivation in secular language.

Thus finding evidence using the court of law approach is bound to fail.
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116. 2009-04-16 23:47  
Post 79 Bains
Re the homophobic letter you posted, I couldn't be bothered to read most of the ludicrous drivel it contained, but the following caught my eye:

"Christian theology considers death, sicknesses, cancers, genetic mutation and even an eventual finding of a 'homosexual' gene (or genetic defect) as the results of sin and flouting of God's moral order."

I wonder which college of theology she attended; I think most theologists would be astounded at that conclusion. And at her arrogance in speaking for an entire religion. So would the families of people who have recently lost someone to cancer. People die of cancer because they sinned or flouted God's "moral order"?

It's clear these people don't want a diverse, inclusive, stable society; they want, and are pushing aggressively for, a "christian" theocracy that excludes all the people and beliefs they disapprove of or disagree with. See the Fundamentalist Project by 100 scholars worldwide mentioned in my earlier post and the conclusions they reached.

[Percole - isn't the hole in your argument that your government gives the impression that it is pragmatic, and has a tendency to be inclusive, in the interests of a harmonious society, whereas the aggressive fundamentalists/doomsday pentecostalists involved in this takeover(I'm not sure if they're totally the same thing) are in organisations that seem to have beliefs that tend to be exclusionary and intolerant of diversity.]

On the takeover at AWARE, it looks like the circumstantial evidence is that the discredited local branch of the U.S. hate group FOTF and/or the pentecostalist "church" mentioned below have had a significant input into events, assuming they're not actually in some cases the same people. If they have the presidency of AWARE, there is also the risk that that person will get an NMP seat in parliament - maybe that is another, not insignificant, goal.
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118. 2009-04-17 00:25  
Post #76 pheramones says (Posted : 16 April 2009 15:44) :

"bing...the light bulb just went on! so the new head of AWARE is the DBS' vice-president of group credit cards? um, didn't DBS feature a contribution to Focus on the Family in a credit card promotion last Christmas? And she's married to Dr Alan Chin? the same Alan Chin who, according to my google search, is a prominent member of the gay-bashing Cornerstone Community Church and the author of several articles insisting that homosexuality is a curable disease? uh oh. .....i hope you singapore folks wake up. u have a virus in your midst."

I guess the membership of AWARE should check out the beliefs/visions of these organisations before the EGM and the vote of no confidence in the new committee, to see if new committee members that are involved with them may secretly hold beliefs incompatible with the vision/ principles of AWARE.

Check out both the church website and the Zion Fellowship Institute in New York to which they are affiliated.

Some things in the vision statements:

"...We have purposed to prepare the Church for the intense persecution and spiritual darkness of THE LAST DAYS". (my caps)

"We believe that divorce and remarriage to another person is contrary to God's will and purposes." (even if your husband abuses or rapes you?)

"We are opposed to: adultery, fornication, uncleanness (including sodomy, lesbianism, bisexuality...)" (No surprises there, but how will single women who are not virgins (fornicators) be dealt with?)

"We believe that God has ordained and created all authority consisting of three basic institutions: 1) the home; 2) the Church; 3) the state. EVERY PERSON [my caps] is subject to these authorities, but all (including the authorities themselves) are answerable to God and governed by His Word."

"We believe that every Christian, as a steward of the portion of God's wealth entrusted to him, is obligated to support his local church financially. We believe that God has established the tithe as a basis for giving..." (Surprise!)

119. 2009-04-17 02:25  
To steveuk:

"Percole - isn't the hole in your argument that your government gives the impression that it is pragmatic, and has a tendency to be inclusive, in the interests of a harmonious society, whereas the aggressive fundamentalists/doomsday pentecostalists involved in this takeover(I'm not sure if they're totally the same thing) are in organisations that seem to have beliefs that tend to be exclusionary and intolerant of diversity."

The PAP government's ideas of inclusiveness is a one-dimensional one: inclusiveness of all based on race only - inclusiveness based on religion has tended to come with the territory.

However, it is only a manufactured ideal that doesn't have much bearing on life as it is truly experienced in Singapore.

It is an exercise in superficiality - skin colour diversity, but zero diversity in political views - and it is all round and not confined to Christian fundamentalists.

But when it comes to religous difference, the Christian fundamentalist exclusiveness rears its ugly head; they hate everyone else except other Talibangelists.

But they do put up with appearances of religious 'tolerance', particularly if they are in government as well.

tolerance (defn.): "You smell bad, but I can hold my nose."

The inclusiveness in question here is queer inclusiveness - they have never been challenged on this score until recently.

What we are really seeing is the Christian fundamentalist panic over this new phenomenon.

120. 2009-04-17 06:58  
Sounds like one complacent group who lost touch with their group has been shown up. Sorry folks you have to be on top of it all the time.

it is unfortunate when christian bigotry groups get control because they always feel they have the might of Je-sus behind them. Why Jesus would ever support bigots is beyond me but there it is. come on you people get on it, you blew it now work twice as hard because you have to to make this work.

Sorry folks, dems the facts.
121. 2009-04-17 11:06  
Dear Percole,

to state that All Singaporeans, to a certain extent are following authority figures in blind obedience is a very strong general sweeping statement.
(An area that is very sensitive, one which i do not want to comment.)

Now, even if the fundamentalist christians or other faith made their point in regards to decriminalization, to endorse that the government is showing favortism to any one particular group is a very negative perspective of the situation.

In regards to upholding various laws, i believe that the government did take all the view points into consideration, christians and non christians alike.

May i suggest that instead of pointng fingers at any one particular minority group, perhaps it is the general public on the WHOLE, that is not ready to accept what we gays ae proposing. It could well be an Asian culture or social mindset.

I do appreciate your strong views in the given situation. Diversity of thoughts can be a very beautiful thing. No right or wrong issue here. Thanks dude, have a great day ahead :)
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123. 2009-04-17 14:16  
You can fool some of the people all of the time,
and all of the people some of the time,
but you can not fool ALL of the people ALL of the time. - Abraham Lincoln

124. 2009-04-17 16:30  
As far as i'm concerned i think steveuk has a pretty good strategy for prep. work before the EOGM.

Claire Nazar is pure wickedness!! I especially hate it when they compare us with Hitler when obviously we bear more resemblance to the Jews in terms of being victimized and being thought of as a disease. *rolls eyes*. They really should sit in for GP classes again.
But there are many loopholes in her argument. I'll sum it up: 1) Psychological and health hazards that gay people are prone to might just be repercussions of criminalizing gay sex and prejudice from society. So not only should it be withdrawn from her argument, it is a strong factor supporting why we should repeal 377A. 2) "Secular state" argument will disable a third of her arguments. 3) Polygamy : 1 dad 12 mums might be even better for the child. But the result doesn't justify the means to it. The point is WHY DISALLOW it. We're not asking for enforcement of gay marriage and adoption laws, we're asking to let the ppl who wanna do it, do it. 4) So what if theology thinks gay gene is a sin. Do you stone cancerous patients? Do cancer patients go to heaven? Are they ousted from church? If not, then this point is totally invalid to the issue here. 5) On the point about kids have Gender Identity Disorder, there is one control set - Hetero Parents, so its very convenient to say what problems gay parenting might bring. But its like saying the chances of a single parent child turning delinquent are higher, or the child of a working dad n stay home mum is happier, do we then insist on the "ideal model", return to #3.

Just sharpening our swords for the big day. Or whenever we need to fight down a witch.

percole : i still don't see why the court of law approach won't work. As long as our arguments are not flawed and we manage to refute all theirs based on 1) our secularity 2) truths (e.g. i just heard tt the male rectum and the female rectum is just as prone to STDs so we have disabled their STD argument), i think we can win over all the ppl sitting on the fences. All they have are opinions and passionate opposition but rarely they speak of facts and truth.
125. 2009-04-17 18:38  
Re Post #88 amoebavirgin : Great post:-)

To Post #82 steveuk:
Actually I put that letter up to give a literary example of how NOT to use flowery language to conceal viciousness.
To quote from one "abdominable homosexual":

We must never confuse elegance with snobbery.
(Yves Saint Laurent)

126. 2009-04-17 18:41  

Home > Breaking News > Singapore > Story
April 17, 2009
DBS rebukes Aware president

DBS holding an internal review over Josie Lau's conduct

A DAY after becoming president of Singapore's leading women's group, Ms Josie Lau found herself in hot water at work.

DBS Bank, where she is a vice-president, is conducting an internal review over how she disregarded its advice against taking on the top post at the Association of Women for Action and Research (Aware).

On Wednesday night, shortly after Ms Lau, 48, announced that she was the new president, the bank issued a statement making clear that it had told her not to take that position.

The public rebuke shocked not only Aware members who have been dealing with a string of dramatic events recently, but also others who thought it unfair for the bank to say Ms Lau had too much on her plate at work to take on a voluntary position.

Yesterday, DBS Bank revealed that Ms Lau - its vice-president for consumer banking group cards and unsecured loans - had breached its staff code of conduct twice in recent weeks.

She did not tell the bank before running for a spot on the Aware executive committee, revealing that only two weeks after the March 28 annual general meeting (AGM). Yet, the bank decided to support her carrying on as an Aware exco member.

That AGM saw Aware's leadership change unexpectedly when a group of new members showed up and defeated veterans. Then new president Claire Nazar quit suddenly.

Ms Lau did not tell DBS that she was keen to assume the post. DBS said it was only on Wednesday afternoon - just hours before the exco was due to pick the new president - that she made known her intentions.

'We reviewed her request and subsequently informed her that while the bank continued to support her involvement in Aware, we could not support her intention to run for president, given the demands associated with the top post of a leading advocacy group in Singapore,' a spokesman said.

'We are disappointed that Josie knowingly disregarded DBS' staff code of conduct twice.
Such an attitude is not one that DBS, or any other organisation, can condone in a leader,' the spokesman said.

Source: The Straits Times
127. 2009-04-17 18:52  
Other news sources:



I guess what goes around, comes around.
But I don't wish her ill.
There's no point...and no class in that.
128. 2009-04-18 00:37  
The October 1999 issue of the American Medical Association's 'Archives of General Psychiatry' confirmed a long link between homosexual sex and suicide as well as a relationship between homosexuality and emotional and mental problems. Youths engaging in homosexuality and/or bisexuality are more prone to suffer major depression (four times more likely), nicotine dependence (five times more), and to commit suicide (six times more).

The reason gay youth suffer as the AMA observes is because of the homophobia in the societies in which they find themselves growing up, not because they are gay. If you have parents and other authority figures in your life as you are finding your way to adulthood telling you you are sick and sinful etc, you'd be depressed too!

Hey, the uneducated misinformed rantings of the homophobes still depresses me, and I am a full adult in a loving LTR same sex marriage of many years.

The blatant ommision of the role of homosexuality in history is appaling.
To all here, may I suggest you read "Homosexuality in History" by Spencer.
Among many other insights this scholarly book will provide, is that in the society in which the historical figure of Jesus lived, same sex relationship were commonplace and even institutionalized. Yet not even the fundamentalist homophobes claim Jesus ever even mentioned it. And this guy had lots of opinions about most things.
And let's not forget the thousands of years of Chinese history of acceptance and integration of same sex relationships.
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131. 2009-04-18 02:49  
ost #92 DanandKazu says " in the society in which the historical figure of Jesus lived, same sex relationship were commonplace and even institutionalized"

You make a lot of good points. What also gets glossed over is the intimate emotional relationship between Jesus and "the disciple that he loved", who reclined on him at the Last Supper, and was present at the crucifixion when Jesus tells his mum that this guy is now her son. There are various theories as to who he was but he's traditionally thought of as St.John. Michaelangelo paints him with the suggestion of breasts in the pic in the National Gallery in London, and I think some old masters portray him as a bit effeminate. The youth who loses his tunic and runs away naked in Gethsemane when Jesus is arrested is a bit of a mystery to me.
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134. 2009-04-18 02:59  
I see from the report in Today that the traditional membership is fighting back, and that the new leadership seem to be using a standard technique commonly used by the American fundamentalists against gays, and in recent years by like-thinking, affiliated, people in Singapore too. I think it may be called "reversal". They accuse their "enemy" of doing what they themselves are doing, in order to distract people from their own actions and look like the innocent aggrieved party. These people think they're at war (just check out their websites and those of their parent organisations in the US). I have the clear impression that the American "religious" right hate feminists as well as gays. I don't know about your local ones.

In this case the new leader seems to be complaining in "Today" that the "old guard", as some call them, are using the techniques that they actually used themselves - getting new members to pack the upcoming EGM. The new Exco is trying to make it look like they themselves are the aggrieved party. But it is they themselves who seem to have no sense of fair play or fair disclosure, going by their reported conduct at the AGM. (I was surprised at the reported fact that Alan Chin was selected to help count the votes, and at his interest in belonging a feminist organisation). For all we know it may be the newbies themselves who are getting more of their number to join prior to the EGM.

The members have been taken unawares once, I hope they realise the level of organisation they appear to be up against, and that some people may be playing to the Singaporean taboo on discussing religion to avoid disclosure of very relevant social beliefs which could be contrary to the ethos of the organisation. Hopefully there will be some tough ("old guard") feminist lawyers to rigorously question the exco and expose any hidden agenda there may be.

Bains - post 89 - I certainly wasn't getting at you, or the literary style of that bizarre letter, but the standardised notorious bunk it contained that I've sadly seen too often.
135. 2009-04-18 09:10  
Make no mistake guys: what the Talibangelists want is not only to hijack AWARE but hijack its sex and sexuality education program.

There is a very simple explanation for this.

They just want to replicate Focus on the Family's satanic agenda of laying the groundwork in the schools for the raising of future generations of virulent homophobes.

It's that simple.
136. 2009-04-18 10:03  
So many fine arguments. But what are we going to DO about it? Are we going to ask our lesbian friends to marry us... join Focus On The Family and take over its Exco?

After all, from what we have seen, it is alright and "christianly" (none of the the other official Christian churches are protesting or speaking their conscience) to be deceitful, deceptive and dishonorable. Why, it's even legal to be so.

They had the bollocks to do it. Do we?

Isn't the lesson (from all that has happened) that actions speak louder than words? The ends justifies the means?

Hmm... maybe we should play by THOSE rules.
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139. 2009-04-18 14:57  
re Post #96 kj_shen ... u are soooo right... what indeed are you complacent let's-not-rock-the-boat Singaporeans gonna do about it???... i think not much... probably your best bet is to import a planeload of fierce Asian-American feminists from San Francisco to fight your battles for you... just in case the feminists warriors are otherwise engaged, you might like to just borrow their techniques (and throw in a few of the Christian fundamentalist tactics too!)... 1) get bloody organized with an issue-specific committee 2) set up phone trees and e-mail alerts to immediately communicate plans of action/ information to all potentially sympathetic supporters; 3) create a writer's bureau which can mob MPs, newspapers, blogs and websites with letters of reasoned protest and which can quickly challenge each and every opposing view wherever and however it appears 4) dig dig dig for dirt on the Lau woman and the other major players (for Christian fundies, "morality" does not cover greed)... above all, the fight must not be pitched as a gay issue (for which there is little public support) but as a national social issue... the Christian fundies, whose churches are to some extent excluded from direct political roles, are, I suspect, grabbing AWARE as a platform to promote their anti-abortion obsessions and only incidentally their homophobic compulsions... since AWARE is a legitimate and respected NGO permitted to advocate on social issues, it's a perfect vehicle for for the fundies disguised as women's rights activists to influence public opinion and politicians... it is the same tactics used by evangelical Christians in the USA where they, campaigning as concerned parents simply intent on improving (unspecified) educational standards, took over the elected school boards and then went on to eradicate any part of the school curriculum that did not support their peculiar anti-abortion, anti-sex, homophobic, creationist views of the world... um, a little aside to DBS: are u sure you want an executive prone to rigid ideas to run your credit card business? what next? a free abstinence kit for everybody spending more than $100 at Mothercare?
140. 2009-04-18 15:02  
OMG, it's that same group from across my bedroom window, Margaet Drive. They strategized and took over AWARE. They even have people in the parliment as MNP. Are there more ?? Are they going to take over the Singapore Government with the same strategy ??
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144. 2009-04-18 20:18  
According to Straits Times many of the new faces in fact belong to COOS.

There's a facebook group now with lots of info and articles called "We believe that recent events at AWARE concerns us all"


145. 2009-04-19 09:51  
Please take note of the forthcoming development:-

Old and new members have petitioned for an extraordinary general meeting to call for a vote of noconfidence in the new exco. This will be held on May 2.

Channel NewsAsia viewers can catch the full interview with Josie Lau on Talking Point this Sunday at 10:10pm
146. 2009-04-19 14:11  
Complacent capitalists versus fueled democrats. Unfortunately theres not much we can do against 'set in stone' establishments and the views of our ironically traditional society. With most of society brought up on sexual normality as a way of life, any other forms prove too much of a provocation and hence disturbance to ones personal mentality. No differ from issues like sexism, racism or any form of sterotype and bias 'hierarchy' treatment, its all about educating the mindset of people, and not about making a forceful point (which we all know will not go down well and in fact just looked upon as radical and taken in an aggressive negative form)
However, we are not 'promoting the gay lifestyle' as many would easily label our intent but making light of it that its just a difference of choice in the way of life. As it is with closing to live in a different country, marry a different race, be a vegetarian etc...
And to be truthful to oneself, all the association of diseases and promiscuity associated with the 'gay lifestyle', is merely highlighted to further emphasis homosexuality as a negative group though its just as prevalient (probably even more so) as in any lifestyle, hetrosexual or homosexual
147. 2009-04-20 12:39  
Is this piece of "news" old already? Can Fridae keep it updated?!

My Updates: Josie Lau's interview with Channel News Asia, google it, and u'll be able to "read" or watch the video. Very carefully crafted and she was obviously reading from a script. I smell an organized effort behind her. Once again, it was all hollow attempts to sound dignified and friendly. There was an unsettling comparision of Aware to a corporate - about consolidation after diversification (the only thing subtly pointing to Aware's previous support for Repeal 377A) Not a single word was mentioned about tangilble visions wrt female rights tho. They evaded their stance towards homosexuality (which i feel, is appropriate since Aware is not about PLUs).

That's that.
Now the Facebook Group on this issue - "We believe that recent events at AWARE concerns us all" is very much going the wrong way. Rallying females above 18 to join Aware so they can out-vote the new guard on May 2nd's EOGM. I don't think this is the point - 1) Does Aware want a bunch of impulsive strangers who know nuts about women rights to take a stance (even if to their benefit) for the sake of it? What will happen thereafter? The reputation of AWARE IS irrepairably damaged and i think damage control should be their top priority. 2) We CAN'T outbeat them. The gay camp is mostly made up of men! While we're driving the Christians who are either sitting on the fence or have no interest in the going-ons to take up an anti-gay stance. Sigh. Exactly what happens when we make sth not about Gays, about Gays. I thought making this about the infiltration into an NGO would have been a more rational and clever tactic.

But either way, since the beacons are lit, we will have to fight the war anyways.

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149. 2009-04-20 13:19  

April 20, 2009 Monday
Home > Prime News > Story


THERE was no phone call, no reason given, and no thank you.
All Ms Braema Mathi, 51, received was a terse e-mail on Thursday telling her she was no longer chairman of Aware's Cedaw Committee.

She was told she was no longer in charge effective March 28, the date of Aware's annual general meeting.

'Talk about being unceremoniously dumped,' said Ms Mathi, a former Nominated Member of Parliament and president of Aware.

The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (Cedaw) is an international convention adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1979. Singapore acceded to this treaty in 1995.

Countries under the treaty submit two reports, one by the state and another by an advocacy group, every four years to a UN expert committee which then issues recommendations on compliance.

Ms Mathi has been involved in preparing the Cedaw report since 2004. She presented one report to the UN in 2007, and is in the midst of finishing a second with the help of more than 20 volunteers.

'I don't know what I have done wrong or am not doing right,' said Ms Mathi, who is currently doing consultancy work for Unifem.

She is not the only one upset.

Undergraduate Chen Siya, 22, who has volunteered on both past and present reports said: 'It's very disrespectful and it's not the right way of doing things.

'What they did is contrary to Aware values of allowing people committed to advocacy to continue doing such work.'

Repeated attempts by The Straits Times to contact the new Aware leadership for comment were unsuccessful.

Source: The Straits Times
150. 2009-04-20 13:27  

April 20, 2009 Monday
Home > Prime News > Story

Aware chief wants to heal rift with upset members


AS ITS new president, Ms Josie Lau says her priority is to reconcile members of the Association of Women And Research (Aware) following the controversial leadership change on March 28.
She hopes that an extraordinary general meeting to be held soon will provide an opportunity for an open discussion.

'The team has clearly fissured. I want to operate such that my members can support me, and we can all disagree in an agreeable environment,' she said.

Ms Lau and Aware's new honorary treasurer Maureen Ong appeared on Channel News Asia's half-hour Talking Point programme aired last night.

They said they could not understand why the Aware old guard had been unhappy with the change, when the exco's new faces had merely responded to calls to serve women.

Asked if their takeover was a planned coup, Ms Lau said: 'No.' She and Ms Ong claimed they had only just got to know each other.

They were short on details about their plans, saying it was too soon.

But Ms Lau said change was needed because Aware had lost its focus and diversified too much, going into too many different areas. The result was that it did not have enough depth.

'Like any good corporation, if you have diversified too much, consolidate,' she said. 'And as with any new committee, we know that resources are always limited, (so) let's take a look and review what is done in the past that is good, let's keep that, and what new ideas we have, bring on.'

She said she hoped to start a mentoring scheme to groom younger women for leadership positions.

In fact, she already had a new programme called 'Wind Beneath My Wings' in mind, and said it would pair younger women with successful role models such as former Aware president Claire Chiang and Singapore Ambassador to the United States Chan Heng Chee.

The past three weeks have seen a series of stormy events at Aware after a large group of new members swarmed the annual general meeting and voted in an exco of mostly unknowns.

Mrs Claire Nazar was elected president, but quit after just 11 days.

She revealed in The Sunday Times yesterday that she gave up because of the aggressive tactics of the new office bearers, who seemed in a rush to replace sub-committee heads and disregarded input and advice from older Aware members.

Ms Lau filled the gap when she was appointed president last week, but immediately landed in trouble with her employer DBS Bank, which said it had advised her not to take up the top post.

Meanwhile, a group of 160 Aware members have called for an extraordinary general meeting to table a vote of no confidence in the new team.

Last night, Ms Lau said she and her team had remained silent because events had moved so fast.

As for her problem with her employer, she said it 'has been resolved', but was still under discussion.

Explaining why she took the post, she said: 'I felt that I had to pick up the baton, to run and to continue to lead this organisation that had been mired in controversies in the last one, two weeks.'

Near the end of the programme Ms Lau was asked how her exco would respond to a woman facing discrimination at work because of her sexuality.

She replied: 'Aware is a secular organisation. We are not there to push our personal religious beliefs. We do not discriminate against anyone of particular religion, whether you are a man or woman.

'Talking about sexual discrimination, it is a very controversial topic, and the new exco will have to take a new look at this and see what is the role we want to take.'

Source: The Straits Times
Wong Kim Hoh, Senior Writer
151. 2009-04-20 13:28  
I hope she & her husband sleeps well at night.
152. 2009-04-20 13:45  
Sorry I missed this piece of news under my LATEST UPDATES:

April 19, 2009 by admin
Filed under News
Leave a comment

From Straits Times:

Constance Singam quits as Aware adviser

Three-time president describes her unhappiness with the new team in a letter to long-time members. Wong Kim Hoh reports.

One voice had been silent in the controversy currently swirling around Singapore's most well-known women's group - that of stalwart and three-time president Constance Singam.

Yesterday afternoon, however, she broke her silence in a letter - marked confidential - to long-time members of the Association of Women for Action and Research (Aware).

She told them she had quit as adviser to the new executive committee steering the group. As immediate past president, Mrs Singam - under Aware's Constitution - automatically earned an advisory role to the new committee.

The three-page letter, a copy of which was obtained by The Sunday Times, described her unhappiness with the new team, which took office after a leadership grab last month.

Mrs Singam, 72, wrote that although the team had publicly said that they would honour Aware's founders and build on the good work of past members, their private behaviour suggested otherwise.

'In private meetings, the exco showed a complete lack of respect for me, ignoring my advice and keeping me out of an exco meeting when I had the right to be there, as stated in the Constitution,' wrote Mrs Singam who has served three terms as Aware president over the last 20 years.

She told members that she was especially unhappy with the new exco's proposal to replace all the heads of Aware's sub-committees with exco members.

There are about half a dozen sub-groups in Aware working on various women's issues such as ageing, singles, work life, and Cedaw (Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women).

Former Nominated MP Braema Mathi was axed by e-mail last week as chair of Cedaw, a position she had held since 2004.

Mrs Singam wrote in her letter: 'I protested and said it was Aware's longstanding practice to give more women, especially young women, the opportunity to acquire leadership skills and empowering them through experiences in sub-committee work.'

The exco ignored her advice, she said.

When contacted, Mrs Singam confirmed that she has quit as Aware adviser and that she penned the letter.

She told The Sunday Times she was not abandoning ship.

'I am still an Aware member. Being outside the exco gives me more freedom and right to speak up, assert and push for the work that Aware has done all these years.'

The events of the last few weeks, she admitted, have been traumatising.

On March 28, the group was taken over by unknown faces who joined Aware only in recent months.

The takeover was like a bolt out of the blue.

'I spent the first two days crying. It makes you suddenly realise the danger of not being vigilant.'

However, she added: 'But that's not the nature of the society. It's always been open and welcoming and I will continue to fight for it to be open and egalitarian.

'I'm not going to be defensive. It has happened, it's a hard lesson, but Aware will continue.'

Mrs Singam is aware that the old guard has been described as sore losers by some who pointed out that the new team was legitimately voted in.

'Why are we sore losers? We are just fighting and defending our values.

'They walked in, took over, and they refused to tell us what they were going to do with Aware. They say they would honour the work of past Aware members, and the first thing that they do is to fire Braema.

'There are just too many questions they are not answering.'

She said their silence has stoked and fuelled too much unhealthy debate, especially online, with speculation about the new team's religious affiliations and anti-homosexual stance.

'I am not at all happy where this is going. This is not a gay versus Christian debate,' she said.

'It is getting away from what Aware stands for. We have spoken up and initiated discussion on a lot of much broader issues - foreign worker abuse, domestic abuse, financial intelligence, education, body image, sexual harassment.

'We address issues that have large and wide implications which affect society.'

She is concerned about the 'possible ideological opposition of many members of the new team'.

She wrote in her letter: 'Our values are based on the fundamental rights and responsibilities of women as women. These include being treated as informed individuals capable of choice, being deserving of opportunities equal to those of men in education, marriage and employment; and being able to control their own bodies, particularly with regard to sexual and reproductive health.'

Meanwhile, news of her resignation upset many longstanding members.

Lawyer Halijah Mohamad, who is in her late 40s, said she was flabbergasted by the apparent high-handedness of the new team: 'Bearing in mind that they are very new members, how could they disregard the advice of someone who has been such a long-time member, and who has an institutional knowledge of Aware?

'By shutting her out, they are just showing that they have absolutely no interest in continuity.'

Madam Halijah was Aware's vice-president in 1999/2000.

'She should not have been put in that position to feel compelled to resign. We were aghast.'

Counsellor Ravqind Kaur, 24, a volunteer since 2006, agreed.

'By keeping her out of decisions, they are showing her no respect. Any little confidence we might have in them has just been washed away.'

Postgraduate student Martha Lee, 32, said: 'Constance has been with Aware for more than 20 years, and she would never resign without a good reason.

'She has tried to engage them, reason with them, but they are not listening. They ask why we are being hostile and they said they want to reconcile but I don't think reconciliation is on their agenda.'

Ms Lee has been a volunteer on several sub-committees since 2001.

Attempts by The Sunday Times to contact the new exco for comments yesterday were unsuccessful.

Mrs Singam said the jolt might have its upside: It has brought Aware members closer together.

It has even rallied new members such as Internet executive Hafizah Osman, 39, who joined Aware yesterday to show her support for what Mrs Singam and the old guard have achieved.

'I was shocked when I heard she was quitting. I think she is obviously making a statement that she does not want the fundamentals of Aware to be compromised,' she said.

'The old guard has done wonderful work and it is so shameful that events of the last week have negated everything to just one issue - sexuality and religion.

'It is much more. I don't want Aware's broad agenda to be lost.'

Source: The Singapore Enquirer
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155. 2009-04-20 19:38  
Saw a video of part one of the interview on something called Wayang Party blog; many comments to the video seem to have been left by the fundamentalsts and/or their supporters. Saw part 2 on CNA.

Overall there was a total lack of incisive questioning and research by the interviewers, and they just accepted evasion every time without pressing the point; for example on the issue of sexuality discrimination (poor Josie couldn't even say the word "sexuality"), they could have pointed out that COOS and Cornerstone organised a nasty response to the previous PM's statement that the government would not discriminate in employing gay people (their standard letter of complaint was on both their websites). Had they had any part in that, did they agree with it? Very pertinent questions.

Also they didn't pick up when Josie said the direction would be "pro-family", in clarifying exactly what that meant. Who isn't "pro-family"? But here it is a political usage of the conservative "christian" right, and I don't think it's one that the traditional feminists would agree with as regards the equal rights of women and rights over their own bodies.

Why weren't some of the "old guard" there, like the woman who has just been fired half way through preparing a report for the UN? And why didn't they ask about that? This was obviously a high priority for the new Exco.

Also why not ask about new Exco connections to the notorious Focus on the Family, and how many new members belong to that?

All in all it was a very lightweight interview that was way too short and that looks more like a PR exercise for the new President.
156. 2009-04-21 13:58  
Post #106 steveuk says (Posted : 20 April 2009 19:38) : "Overall there was a total lack of incisive questioning and research by the interviewers..."

Hmmm...well, a German friend once commented to me ChannelNews Asia is a cheap copy of Fox News. :p Has anyone noticed how Fox News serves as a sort of propaganda machine for the Christian Right in America? So the question is:
do we seriously expect high-quality, objective reporting fr CNA???
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158. 2009-04-22 04:16  

There's also the extremely curt email (so much for reconciliation, again) they sent to Braema Mathi telling her she's been relieved of her position as chair of the subcommittee preparing AWARE's report to be submitted to the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). Without even a customary word of thanks, the email said:

"Kindly note that your term of office as chairman of the CEDAW Committee has ceased at the date of the AGM on the 28 March 2009.
Kindly submit all the work in progess by Friday 17 April 2009 without fail.
Sally Ang "
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163. 2009-04-22 04:21  

Shameful and evasive tactics by the new leadership at AWARE...April 22, 2009
Source: Yawning Bread, 21 April 2009
On TV, Josie Lau said,
Josie Lau: My priority right now is to reconcile the team which clearly has fissured.

Now, here's something the public does not yet know: The television station's original plan was for a member each of the old guard and the new guard to be in the interview. Josie Lau objected vehemently and insisted they would not share the interview room and program with anyone from the old guard. So much for reconciliation.

164. 2009-04-22 12:05  
Post #110 jammyboi says:

"The television station's original plan was for a member each of the old guard and the new guard to be in the interview. Josie Lau objected vehemently and insisted they would not share the interview room and program with anyone from the old guard"

165. 2009-04-22 14:16  
pheramones is right. Gays and Lesbians in Singapore can expect more of the same until we drop our complacency and get organised.
166. 2009-04-22 15:15  
Re alan2008 (Post 108):
"Why did Josie bring up religion when that was not the question..."

Good question.
This reminds me of an earlier occasion, when reporters are trying to get to know the new Ex-Co members by asking very routine questions like who they are & how they are going to continue with AWARE's direction, to which they immediately replied: "Why is everyone against us? What AGENDA do they have? " (?????)

Glad to see I'm not the only one with the suspicions. Here in Sg the major papers are getting quieter...has anyone noticed?
My guess is they are now seizing the opportunity to hide or at least tone down their profile, followed by a CHARM OFFENSIVE for the public.
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169. 2009-04-22 18:58  
Just to give you guys an idea of the challenges the old guard faces, look @ the comments left behind ordinary Singaporeans on Straits Times forums,
just bloody look at them:


There are even some counter-accusations of Aware's old guard of being 'pro-lesbian' & the previous mgt for using AWARE as a 'front' for gay & lesbian rights...this despite the Constance Singam's repeated clarification she's only concerned about FAIR & EQUAL REPRESENTATION for ALL groups that includes lesbians, non-Christian women & non-Chinese women, trans-women... Speaking of which, I am rather concerned by the ethnic make-up of the new Ex-co...no Malays, Eurasians,now with Brama & Constance ousted, no Indian women too...?

Now you can see how low FOTF can go to orchestrate a smear campaign...
The question now: should we emulate them-
which I highly DON"T recommend- or is there another way to outclass them???
170. 2009-04-22 20:47  

Recognised and accept that this is Singapore. Everything that happens in Singapore is uniquely Singapore. It may not be a good thing , but it is Singaporean. It does not have international laws, it practices Singapore Laws. Know that for a fact.

Next step=No Confidence Vote on the new Exco and if the new Exco dun bulge, then report them to the Registrar of Societies for a Society by law decision.
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172. 2009-04-22 20:48  
Post #114 Bains says (Posted : 22 April 2009 18:58) :

Just to give you guys an idea of the challenges the old guard faces, look @ the comments left behind ordinary Singaporeans on Straits Times forums,
just bloody look at them..

Why should anyone be surprised at these expected responses in support of the new Exco? If the Keep S377A website could be set up immediately and garnered almost the so called "genuine" (yawn) "20,000 signatories" within a week, as compared to the paltry 5,000 the Repeal377A struggled to collect for the month long cyber campaign, not withstanding the latter had a celebrity video in support of its cause, know then there are organised groups like fundamentals that will stop at nothing to achieve their misguided deeds.


173. 2009-05-04 20:43  
We have to be careful. The placing of Thio Li An as NMP and the now revealed subversion of Aware..there seems to be a larger game at play with [b]one common denominator, COOS and Pastor Derek Hong...

We must not forget the real puppet master, who hides in the darkness..
From an online blog, seems he wasnt sorry at all, and was mentioned to have said.. well if the media wants an apology, I will give them an apology..

I am not sure if it is all a concerted scheme to influence the social-political sphere to achieve their misguided intended ends..

His modus operandi is clear. Work behind the scenes, stir up parents' emotions through emails on appeals to do God's work, provoke them into action via feedback or petition to the authorities.

All civil organisations, Action for Aids, Trevvy. Fridae etc.. be AWARE.

The Puppet Master runs free... Pastor Derek Hong.
174. 2009-05-05 02:35  
To all GAY and LESBIAN DBS account holders,

Let's write to DBS to demand that narrow minded vice president to be sacked.

They should not make any profit out of our money to pay her.

175. 2009-05-05 14:23  
Re: Post #117 Tachiro:

To DBS's credit, the bank has alrd made it very clear that it does NOT condone Josie Lau's actions & is trying to distance itself from her infamous FOTF credit-card campaigns. I understand yr good intention, bt writing to them to demand Josie Lau be sacked right now is NOT a wise or sensitive move, esp. after the recent bereavement of their CEO. So it's best to not persue this for the time being; don't let the homo-obsessers use it against you in future.

Msg to DBS: I respect yr integrity :-)

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